Rekindle Your Wild Joy and Deep Belonging to the Earth

Square Dances of the 1950s Rural West February 26, 2010

Filed under: Announcements,Arts,Dance — BrujaHa @ 5:17 pm
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The book of my father’s square dance calls that I’ve been working on for the last six years or so is coming together. I suppose I really should wait till it’s actually out to talk about it, but I just finished the cover mockup and am excited now!

Hank Fields taught hundreds of people to square dance in rural Modoc County, CA in the 1950s, the heyday of western square dance. The book’s main purpose is to share the calls he did (including breaks, patter, and singing squares. It also includes stories gleaned from numerous interviews with Hank and other dancers from the time about their experiences.

One of my favorites, told by an older cousin, is about winter dancing in Idaho. Folks would sometimes get snowed in while on their way to a dance, but would that stop them? No! They’d just stop, set up sawdust fires, and dance anyway – right in the middle of the road!

I hope this book will be of interest to modern western square dancers and others interested in how dance can forge community, and that it will help contemporary callers keep these old dances alive. It ends with the exhortation to “Please use these good old dances to make good new memories.”

This book is not done yet, but please let me know if you’re interested in getting a copy when it is! Inspired by my friend Birrell Walsh’s delight with his poetry book, I plan to self-publish it through


One Response to “Square Dances of the 1950s Rural West”

  1. LindaFlanagan Says:

    Oh Tina, your blogspot is filled with such absolute mesmerizing delight! This in particular is most astonishing! Your dad a dance caller in the 50’s?Oh that just gives me the goosebumps. No wonder you are called to do the same on the contra floor!
    I just love your writings and deepening expressions of delight and stirrings in your world. thank you so much for bringing me the joy that I discover every single time i open up one of my favorite blogs-indigenize! Yah, you go girl. You totally rock!

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